At The Gates
The Nightmare Of Being Swedish Tour – 2021-22 – Leg 1 –
The Exorcist GBG – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
8/4 – 2022
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
After COVID-related delays, it was finally time for legendary melodic death metallers At the Gates to visit Malmo. The band’s tour began during December 2021 but the the pandemic delayed it. After further delays pushed it to April 2022, the restrictions in Sweden were blown off and almost everything is now back to normal; but enough about the freaking pandemic, let’s focus on At The Gates! Last year the band released their latest studio album, THE NIGHTMARE OF BEING, which was in my opinion one of the best Swedish albums last year.
Now onto the tour. The venue for the show was the best club in Sweden, Kulturbolaget, and the support act, The Exorcist GBG, was scheduled to be on stage at 8 o’clock. I’d never heard of The Exorcist GBG before. When I read about the band, it all felt really hippie-ish because the band supposedly extend the conception of time with their music and together with the listener make you exist in another dimension of time. The band began their career performing at illegal techno clubs for the underground techno lovers in Gothenburg Sweden. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was going to experience by reading about the band so I decided to simply head down to Kulturbolaget to see if what I had read about the band was correct.
A small line had formed outside the club when I arrived and when the doors opened I walked straight to the merchandise stand in order to check out what At The Gates had for sale. The stage only had a set of drums a keyboard, which made me more curious about what the support act was going to bring to Malmo. It felt so nice to be back at Kulturbolaget and see some live music again. Afte a short wait, it was finally showtime.
The Exorcist GBG
The band, who are a trio, walked right on stage and started off the show. Their music was strictly instrumental and sounded partially like it was taken from an old computer game from back in the day. The trio let the music do the talking and said nothing in between the songs. The people on the floor seemed to like what they heard even though it maybe wasn’t my cup of tea.
The sound system worked perfectly but the lighting was a bit dark, making it hard to take decent pictures of the band. I thought the songs sounded similar to each other and it was hard to tell when one ended and the other one began. The 30-minute show seemed to make the fans happy, but I would have liked a little more action and definitely more guitars. This show was one of the most odd ones I’ve ever seen and it felt really strange that a keyboard trio was the choice of opening act. Maybe the bands know each other since both are from Gothenburg, what do I know?
When the crew began to get the stage ready for At the Gates, they brought out a huge drum set and revealed amps in front of the huge back drop. It felt good to see that everything was the same in the At The Gates camp when it came to musical gear. And after 30-minutes of preparation it was finally time for Gothenburg’s finest to make their way on to the stage.
One by one the members entered the stage during the intro music and as soon as the fans saw the guys they began to shout and clap their hands. First song out for the night was “Spectra of Extinction” taken from the brand new album. Straight away followed the monumental piece “Slaughter of the Soul” which made the fans explode as a circle pit formed behind me. It was a huge surprise and a bold move to fire off such a classic so early into the show. However, the fans loved it and shouted along with Lindberg at the top of their lungs. Needless to say, the show started out really great. “At War With Reality” continued the night and the line up in the band is as follows:
Tomas Lindberg – lead vocals
Adrian Erlandsson – drums
Jonas Björler – bass
Martin Larsson – guitar
Jonas Stålhammar – guitar
Lindberg moved across the stage during the entire show firing up the fans with his presence and majestic vocals while the rest of the band did their best to follow his footsteps. I couldn’t help but be blown away by how mighty the band is live; not many bands are as fierce as At The Gates on stage.
“Cold” followed, after which Lindberg thanked the fans for being there to support the band saying it was a really long time since the band last visited Malmo and talked about the delays. “Well, here comes a new song we like to play for you, it’s called “The Paradox””. The sound system worked perfectly again and the band had an almost crystal clear sound, however they stood mostly in the darkness performing with only strobes shedding some light on them. Why this the club doesn’t use their huge light rig is a mystery to me.
When the fans heard the intro “Der Widerstand” which led up to “To Drink From the Night Itself” they raised the roof and the mayhem on the floor got more intense. It was fun to hear the band do a number of more current songs taken from after they released their comeback album AT WAR WITH REALITY which came out in 2014. I think the more current songs are of a really high standard and really fit into the set list well.
“Suicide Nation” taken from the monumental album SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL, set the club on fire. Lindberg had the fans growl along with him and another circle pit formed instantly. It was really fun to hear one of my personal favorite songs once again. The band walked off the stage and through the speakers came the intro “El Altar Del Dios Desconcido” which is the opening track AT WAR WITH REALITY. The band returned and it was time for them to fire off “Death and the Labyrinth”. Even though I really liked to hear the current songs, it felt like the fans were a bit reluctant towards them and appreciated hearing the older classics more. Next was “Heroes and Tombs”, after which Lindberg asked if the fans wanted to hear a fast song. The fans shouted yes and Lindberg replied, “Good, I think that Adrian has something fast going on back there”. “Nausea” followed which was yet another gem from SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL. Great as it is, I started to wonder why they hadn’t played songs from any other of their epic pieces yet. Still, despite the postponements, the band was solid and completed each other perfectly. What an amazing front man Lindberg is!
“Daggers of Black Haze” followed by “Touched By the White Hands of Death”, making the fans scream out loud. Lindberg asked if the fans were ready for “Under a Serpent Sun”, which really woke up the entire club. In the middle of the song Lindberg let the fans take care of the vocals. Next up was “The Book of Sand (The Abomination)” after which Lindberg thanked the fans again and said that everything fun must come to an end as the next song was the final one. Even though the fans shouted a monumental “NO”, he said this was the last song and “The Mirror Black” followed and ended the show.
I took a look at the time and saw that the band only been on stage for about one hour and it only took a short while of cheering from the fans until the guys made their way back on to the stage and fired off the first encore in “Blinded By Fear”. Stålhammar, Erlandsson and Larsson came out first and when the song began Lindberg and Björler joined forces with them. Another circle pit formed and Lindberg once again thanked the fans for the huge support this night. “The Night Eternal” was the absolute final song for the night and one by one the members walked off the stage. Erlandsson ended the song on his own and when he was done the rest of the band came back and thanked the fans together.
Even though I think 1 hour and 15 minutes was too short, I was glad that I was able to once again see this magical melodic death metal act live in action, and they didn’t disappoint. It was melodic death metal at its absolute best and I’m so glad the band decided to reunite continuing to release epic metal to the world.
The set list felt fresh and it was fun to see that the band had the courage to focus on tracks from the comeback album and SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL, however I missed some material from their older albums as well. If you are a headline act you should, in my opinion, at least perform for at least 90 minutes and the short playing time made me a bit disappointed. It wouldn’t have hurt the band to play a few more songs but besides that, it was an amazing night with the best melodic death metal acts in the world. And if you haven’t bought THE NIGHTMARE OF BEING yet, shame on you. Run out and buy it right now!
Spectra of Extinction
Slaughter of the Soul
At War With Reality
Der Widerstand (intro)
To Drink From the Night Itself
El Altar Del Dios Desconocidio (intro)
Death and the Labyrinth
Heroes and Tombs
Daggers of Black Haze
Touched By the White Hands of Death
Under a Serpent Sun
The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
The Mirror Black
Blinded By Fear
The Night Eternal
Thanks to the head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass to the show. Thanks to all the rest of the staff at the club for a great night.